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Jump Up Caribbean Carnival Music in New York City is the first comprehensive history of Trinidadian calypso and steelband music in the diaspora. Carnival, transplanted from Trinidad to Harlem in the 1930s and to Brooklyn in the late 1960s, provides the cultural context for the study. Blending oral history, archival research, and ethnography, Jump Up examines how members of New York's diverse Anglophile-Caribbean communities forged transnational identities through the self-conscious embrace and transformation of select Carnival music styles and performances. The work fills a significant void in our understanding of how Caribbean Carnival music-specifically calypso, soca (soul/calypso), and steelband-evolved in the second half of the twentieth century as it flowed between its Island homeland and its bourgeoning New York migrant community. Jump Up addresses the issues of music, migration, and identity head on, exploring the complex cycling of musical practices and the back-and-forth movement of singers, musicians, arrangers, producers, and cultural entrepreneurs between New York's diasporic communities and the Caribbean.
About the Author
Ray Allen is Professor of Music and American Studies at Brooklyn College, CUNY, where he teaches classes on American music, world music, and urban folk culture. His research has ranged from African American gospel, Caribbean Carnival music, and the folk music revival to the works of composers Ruth Crawford Seeger and George Gershwin. His books include Singing in the Spirit: African-American Sacred Quartets in New York City, Island Sounds in the Global City: Caribbean Popular Music in New York City (co-edited with Lois Wilcken), Ruth Crawford Seeger's Worlds: Innovation and Tradition in Twentieth Century American Music (co-edited with Elli Hisama), and Gone to the Country: The New Lost City Ramblers and the Urban Folk Music Revival.